For most of human history, the concept of life after death was purely a religious matter. After all, materialists, who believed that every aspect of the human condition – from thought to emotions to categorical imperatives – could be explained by activity in the brain, had little reason to believe that the afterlife was even a logical possibility.

Not only was the concept of life after death at odds with our understanding of how the physical universe worked, but, investigating the afterlife from a scientific perspective was tantamount to committing career suicide. After all, who would take a scientist who believed in “the ghost in the machine” seriously?

This is why it is somewhat surprising that, in recent years, a small yet passionate group of researchers has started to explore the possibility of life after death from a scientific perspective. Some of these scientists have done pioneering work documenting near-death experiences (NDEs). Others, like the scientists that I will discuss today, are forming a logical foundation on which to develop a concept of the “quantum soul.”

What is a Quantum Soul and Why Might We Have One?

To be clear, I haven’t heard any of the scientists that I will mention here refer to a “quantum soul.” Instead, scientists like Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff are talking about the “quantum nature of consciousness.” But, in my view, the two terms are fairly interchangeable.

In simple terms, Pemrose argues that consciousness may be a quantum (operating at the smallest levels of energy and matter) processes that happens in the brain.

For example, he recently said, “Protein-based microtubules, a structural component of human cells, carry quantum information – information stored at a sub-atomic level.” He theorizes that, when a person dies, the quantum information that is stored in his or her microtubules is released into the universe.

And, here’s where the connection to life after death comes into play. In a recent interview, he stated, if a person dies, “It’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul.”

So, in other words, Penrose is saying that your consciousness (or soul, if you like) is actually a quantum information process that is running in the microtubules in your brain. And, when you die, the part of you that makes you, you is released into the universe.

Here is a video of Sir Roger Penrose explaining his theory of consciousness at a 2045 initiative event.

What Would a Quantum Soul Tell Us About the Afterlife?

Sir Robert Penrose’s theory is fascinating, but, without a theological underpinning, it is also terrifying. Basically, what he is saying is that, from a purely scientific perspective, he believes that, after we die, our consciousness is released into the universe. It seems to me that, without guidance from – or a connection to – a higher power, this quantum soul would be destined to float aimlessly through space and time.

Like Patrick Swayze’s character in Ghost, such an entity would continue to exist, but, would be unable to interact with or influence the physical world. It would be intelligence made impotent. It would be “death after life” rather than “life after death.”

This is where faith comes back into the picture. Religion isn’t about finding proof of the afterlife; it is about finding purpose in this life and the next. Spirituality isn’t about the evidence of the senses; it is about the experiences of the soul.

This is why science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin. Instead of being in conflict, they should be working together. This is the only way that we will discover the complete truth about life after death… and so many other questions!

What do you think about the idea that we have “quantum souls?” Do you think that it is possible that our consciousness is stored in our brains? Or do you believe in souls in a more traditional sense?